Hearn analyses Crawford vs. Khan

By Boxing News - 04/14/2019 - Comments

Image: Hearn analyses Crawford vs. Khan

By Chris Williams: Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn doesn’t seem to be too optimistic about Amir Khan’s chances of pulling off the upset next Saturday night on April 20 on Top Rank Boxing on ESPN pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Even though Hearn acknowledges that Khan could likely lost to Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs), he’s hoping that the fight is at least competitive enough to where it won’t hurt the mega-fight that he wants to make between Amir and Kell Brook. Hearn reasons that as long Khan is competitive with Crawford, 31, then he can still sell a fight between Khan and Brook. But if Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) gets blown out in the first round by Crawford or if he beats him, then that hurts the chances of him putting together the Brook fight that he wants to make.

“Let’s say Crawford is arguably the #1 welterweight in the world,” Hearn said to Radio Raheem at Secondsout. “It’s nothing in terms of Amir’s ability. It’s just that he’s with a really, really great fighter,” Hearn said.

Hearn is going overboard in calling Crawford the #1 welterweight in the division. It’s WAY too early to say that Crawford is the #1 fighter in the 147 pound division just because he’s beaten fellow Top Rank fighters Jose Benavidez Jr. and Jeff Horn.” What we can say is Crawford is better than those two fighters, and he’s better than the fighters Top Rank matched him against when he fought at 140, a division in which he was able to unify by beating Thomas Dulorme, Viktor Postol and Julius Indongo. Crawford is better than those fighters, but it’s early yet to call him a “great fighter” just because he was able to beat those limited guys at 140 and Horn and Benavidez Jr. at 147.

“Amir, as we’ve seen in the Canelo fight, he has the ability, the speed and the skills to mix it with all these guys,” Hearn said. “He just like to get involved a little too much. People talk about Amir’s chin. It’s not about that. It’s more about that he’s been in with some really heavy handed fighters than him having a bad chin,” Hearn said.

Hearn brings up a good point about Khan losing to guys with good punching power. Khan’s knockouts have come against these fighters:

– Saul Canelo Alvarez

– Danny Garcia

– Breidis Prescott

Those are all good punchers, and there’s nothing for Khan to be ashamed of in losing to guys like that. Those fighters have the kind of punching power that would give anybody problems. Khan made the mistake of exchanging with all of them, and that left him vulnerable to getting hit by them. Hearn is right about Khan leaving himself open by being sloppy in the fights in which he was knocked out.

“He needs to be able to use his speed and his skills,” Hearn said about Khan. “In that respect, he can’t go toe-to-toe, but neck and neck with Crawford. He makes mistakes and gets caught. Crawford is becoming a spiteful puncher. He mustn’t stand and engage, but he has a tendency to do that,” Hearn said about Khan.

Crawford is not a big puncher. Hearn needs to re-watch Crawford’s recent fights at welterweight against Benavidez and Horn. He’s not a huge puncher. Crawford beat both of those fighters, who are arguably B-level guys that are part of Top Rank’s table, by hitting them with an accumulation of punches to get them out of there. Even at 140, Crawford wasn’t a huge puncher. He knocked out some guys like Indongo, John Molina Jr., Felix Diaz and Dierry Jean, but those aren’t elite level fighters. Regis Prograis knocked out Indongo in the second round in 2018. He did a better job of stopping Indongo than Crawford did. Prograis is one of the guys that Crawford didn’t fight before moving up to 147. Why didn’t Top Rank match Crawford against Prograis, Josh Taylor, Jose Ramirez, Ivan Baranchyk, Maurice Hooker or Kiryl Relikh before having him move up to 147? Perhaps because Crawford might lose to all or some of them? Hearn seems like a smart promoter, but he doesn’t appear to look closely at the resume of the opposition that his fighters face. Just by the way thaat Hearn is all over Crawford, it almost sounds like he’s pulling for him to win the fight over Khan. Look at it this way. If Crawford beats Khan, then the Khan-Brook fight can still be made, as long as Khan doesn’t lose too badly to Terence. But if Khan beats Crawford, then he’s going to face him in a rematch, and then fight the other champions at 147 in unification fights. As Hearn points out, the Khan vs. Brook fight will be dead in the water if Khan beats Crawford.

“What I’m getting at is Khan needs a well disciplined performance from him in this fight, because skill-wise and speed-wise, can can compete against Crawford,” Hearn said. “But he must not start chipping shots and getting caught, because that becomes dangerous, not just because it’s Amir Khan. It’s Terence Crawford,” Hearn said.

Khan will need to punch with Crawford if he wants to win. He’s not going to beat Crawford by trying to out-box him for 12 rounds from the outside. That’s not going to happen. Crawford is too good of a boxer for Khan to beat by boxing him from range. Khan will need to get in the trenches with Crawford a certain amount of the time next Saturday night for him to have a chance of leaving the Garden with the WBO 147 lb. title slung over his shoulder. Khan can do it, but he can’t fight like he’s afraid of Crawford or treat him like he’s the next coming of Julian Jackson. Crawford is not that type of a puncher, and he’s not about Sugar Ray Leonard, like his promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank has been saying. If you look at the highlights of a prime Sugar Ray Leonard and then look at Crawford’s highlights, the two are completely different fighters. Leonard was a much better fighter than Crawford was. The only thing we know about Crawford is he was a good lightweight. We can’t say anything about Crawford’s time at 140, because he never fought any of the talented fighters like Prograis, Taylor, Hooker, Ramirez, Baranchyk or Relikh. Crawford fought guys the next level down.

“Listen, we’re 100 percent behind Amir,” Hearn said. “I hope he gets the win. It’s a very tough fight. Let’s say he gets knocked out. Let’s look at the worst that could happen. If you get knocked out in the first round, you’re not in as good a situation as you would if he’s winning the fight and gets caught and knocked out. There’s the Kell Brook fight. That’s the fight we’ll look at, and we’d like to make. If Amir Khan wins, he definitely won’t be fighting Kell Brook. The best hope for that fight is if Amir loses in a good fight. It’s nowhere near as profitable, but it’s still a fight that you can promote. But listen, hopefully he gets the win. He’s trained hard. You can see from his preparation the shape he’s in. Amir Khan gives you 100% every time. It’s just a very difficult fight,” Hearn said about Khan’s fight against Crawford next Saturday night on Top Rank Boxing on ESPN PPV on April 20.

Hearn doesn’t sound like he’s hoping that Khan wins against Crawford. He sounds he’s hoping Khan loses in a competitive fight so that he can still make the Brook fight for him. You can’t blame Hearn for thinking like that, if that’s the way he’s thinking, because there’s a lot of money to still be made in a Khan-Brook fight. All that money will go down the drain if Khan is wiped out by Crawford in the early rounds or if he beats him in a big upset.